So…. yeeeeah, we’re home. Sad face.
Had I written this two days, or even possibly four days after we got back, I might (MIGHT) have said, So, hey, yeah! We’re home! Yay! Yay us! Yay Seattle! Yay house! But, alas, the window of gladness was narrow and short-lived (except for Yay, Tigger! (our cat)).
We rounded the bend between the bays that officially mark, “we’re almost home,” (Shilshole and Elliott), Sunday before last, and it felt like when you’re eight and staring down the first day back to school after summer break. Like you want to kill yourself. Only when you’re eight you don’t want to kill yourself (because hi. birthdays). A less dramatic articulation of the we’re-home devastation is that we wanted to just keep on sailing. Past our bay, past all the bays, and back out. To wherever.
For background: Besides a really amazing vacation, we approached this trip as a shakedown cruise. We wanted to go and experience the adventure of course, but we also wanted to stress-test ourselves and the boat for bigger trips. Longer trips. For leaving it all behind and facing the ocean. That’s right. We aspire to live the dream. You heard me.
Now, before you get all eye-rolly, just give me a second. Because I know. I know how that sounds. I know the wincing, eye-squinting, one-shoulder-creeping-up-under-your-earlobe. I know the breaking out in a rash. I know the disappointed, I-don’t-like-you-anymore-which-is-too-bad-cuz-I-had-started-to-and-I-mostly-don’t-like-anyone thoughts that are floating around in your head about me right about now because I’m not who you thought I was (i.e., someone you like). And I totally get it. I have that reaction to pretty much everything in life. Ev.Ah.Ree.Thing.
But hear me out. This isn’t the result of some Oprah-ism (at least not directly, but very possible directly. Or indirectly. Nevermind about it not being about Oprah.) or a passing whim (read: I’m going to learn carpentry! I should go to med school!) This is real, bitches. I know talking about and actually doing a thing like sailing to Tahiti or the Bahamas or Hawaii or the Mediterranean or [insert seemingly out of reach yet amazebalz destination here], while seemingly sexy and cool, and definitely something you should do before it’s too late so you don’t rot away at a job you hate and have no joy and then die, is almost always just the thing you think and dream and talk about but never do. So, in addition to doing all the thinking and dreaming and talking, we knew the only way to find out if we really wanted to do it was to start doing it.
So, the trip.
And I know that while thirty days and five-hundred-ish nautical miles is no crossing of the Pacific, it’s also not nothing. Thirty days. Thirty-eight feet of “living” space. Ninety-ish gallons of fresh water. Two burners in a foot-and-a-half-long “kitchen.” Stinky pump-outs that stink and don’t work. No freezer. Fiercely high-wind anchorages. Angry old men in their PJs yelling at you to turn off your generator. Fifty-knot winds. Dinghy repairing. Oar losing. Gas dock skirmishes. Conflict resolution. Trials of perseverance and patience and testing our resolve, skills, and emotional boundaries. And love, love, loving all of it and each other all along the way.
It’s not selling our clothes and our house and our car, but it was a step. It was also the trip we knew would lead us to the big answer, which I’m happy to report is Yes.
There will always be scary things, and I know that that’s good. Fear keeps us safe and alive. A very wise man reminded me recently that scary things become not scary once you master them, and on their heels is a big long list of new scary things that will be scary until you learn them too. It’s only when you stop being scared of the things and the list that it’s time to be scared. And I know he’s right.
Before the trip I was scared to be in 20 mph winds. I was scared of dropping the anchor and pulling it in and of Canadian border patrol agents rapping on the side of our boat in the middle of a GIANT STORM to ask us our clearance number. I was scared to cross the Strait of Juan de Fuca. I was scared to write because I believed that everything I write will go down in the Hall of Worst and Most Embarrassing Things Ever Written and I will be finally once and for all revealed as a failure. And then a very inspiring and supportive friend who knows just what to say and when to say it sent me four words: don’t write. just type.
So, I’m working the list.